Saturday, 13 February 2010

The French Properties: Agreement with St Helena Government

This blog began in parallel with that of Michel Dancoisne Martineau - and from time to time I have commented on postings he has made.

I think it is worth drawing attention to his latest post : some pictures of a reception at Longwood - his blog must have the best collection of images of St Helena online - and a speech in English outlining a formal agreement with S.H.G. (St Helena Government).

Last year we celebrated the 150 years of the purchase of the properties by Napoleon III from Queen Victoria. Today the properties are administered by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. Which means Longwood House is considered a property and not a “museum”. Our yearly budget is for the maintenance of the property. We therefore have to seek third party sponsors to be able to offer the service of a museum. We are fortunate to have with us this evening Viviane and Jean Huet who are just, such sponsors. Three years ago they sponsored the replica of the birdcage made by the Chinese for Napoleon. This replica was perfectly recreated by Jeffrey Stevens and his team. This is an example of how third party sponsorship to Longwood House benefits not only the French Properties but also the island economy. .. there is two other major project : the reconstruction of the general’s apartment into a proper multifunctional building and the International exhibition I would like to see happen for the 200 years anniversary of Napoleon on St-Helena island.

The memorandum of understanding we are going to sign is, in fact, a confirmation of a long standing partnership between the St. Helena Government and the French Properties who share the same ambitions of prosperity for the island through Tourism and Heritage.

Interesting to read about the bird cage which was the subject of some discussion on Roel's blog. I was pleased also to see a picture of a familiar Saint on the lawns of Longwood. Not so long ago she and her husband visited us in Manchester and I made their visit the subject of a posting, Two Saints in Manchester . For reasons I cannot fathom, it seems to be one of the most frequently visited pages on the blog.

Anyway congratulations to Michel for his determination to involve the Saints in the French Properties, which are of vital importance to the future of St Helena. One of these days I hope the British Government will formally recognise his achievements in the way in which it recognised those of his predecessor.

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